Autophagy and Lysosomes in Pompe Disease


In Pompe disease, a deficiency of lysosomal acid alpha-glucosidase, intralysosomal glycogen accumulates in multiple tissues, with skeletal and cardiac muscle most severely affected.1 Complete enzyme deficiency results in rapidly progressive infantile cardiomyopathy and skeletal muscle myopathy that is fatal within the first two years of life. Patients with partial enzyme deficiency suffer from skeletal muscle myopathy and experience shortened lifespan due to respiratory failure. The major advance has been the development of enzyme replacement therapy, which recently became available for Pompe patients. However, the effective clearance of skeletal muscle glycogen, as shown by both clinical and pre-clinical studies, has proven more difficult than anticipated.2-4 The work published in Annals of Neurology5 was designed to cast light on the problem, and was an attempt to look beyond the lysosomes by analyzing the downstream events affected by the accumulation of undigested substrate in lysosomes. We have found that the cellular pathology in Pompe disease spreads to affect both endocytic (the route of the therapeutic enzyme) and autophagic (the route of glycogen) pathways, leading to excessive autophagic buildup in therapy-resistant skeletal muscle fibers of the knockout mice.

Addendum to:
Dysfunction of Endocytic and Autophagic Pathways in a Lysosomal Storage Disease
Tokiko Fukuda, Lindsay Ewan, Martina Bauer, Robert J. Mattaliano, Kristien Zaal, Evelyn Ralston, Paul H. Plotz and Nina Raben
Ann Neurol 2006; 59:700-8

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Autophagy and Lysosomes in Pompe Disease